The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It is also NPWH’s 40th anniversary in 2020! Happy Year of the Nurse and the Midwife! Happy Birthday, NPWH! We see you and we celebrate you!
Although every transition to a new job is eventful, I didn’t anticipate my tenure as CEO to begin in the middle of a global pandemic. I recognize that this crisis of COVID-19 is affecting our members in different and complicated ways. We at NPWH are thinking of you and hoping that you and your families are safe, healthy, and finding ways to take care of yourself and others during this unusual time.
Whether you are on the front lines, working hard to continue providing care, or furloughed, I want you to know that we stand with you. We value your membership and are working hard to support you and help you continue to instill trust in the women you serve with your expertise and compassion. We recognize a strong WHNP workforce is key to the achievement of improving women’s health, promoting gender equality, and supporting economic equity in the United States. WHNPs must be properly valued and represented in health leadership roles where you can guide health policy and investment.
NPWH is part of the urgent conversations about healthcare that the COVID-19 crisis is creating, and we want to stay on top of understanding your needs beyond COVID-19. We encourage you to fill out this short survey that will help us better understand your experience and create resources helpful to you in this unprecedented era. We will continue to advocate for our members by speaking to the administration and congressional members about the specific needs of WHNPs and women in this crisis.
Recently, we supported amicus briefs to protect a woman’s right to abortion care in Texas and Oklahoma. We also signed a letter organized by the March of Dimes to the House and Senate leadership requesting $100 million in the next COVID-19 relief bill for the CDC initiative “Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Moms and Babies.” This nationwide network was created during the Zika virus outbreak to track the virus’ effect on mother and infants in real time, enabling the CDC to create evidence-based clinical guidance, educate healthcare providers and the community, and connect families to care. The letter urges Congress to provide new funding to renew and improve this initiative to gather real-time clinical and survey data from all 50 states and jurisdictions on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their babies.
Unfortunately, we had to cancel our March regional meeting and our 7th Annual Women’s Sexual Health Course. We are committed to rescheduling those events virtually to offer you opportunities to expand your expertise and support your certification needs. We are working on innovative new ways to offer you tools and training to ensure you have access to continuing education. Please keep an eye on your email and our e-news briefs and social media to learn more. We also now have a members-only monthly newsletter as well as an advocacy-specific newsletter highlighting our work to support you.
I also want to take a moment to introduce myself and share my vision for our organization. I have long been an advocate for women, women’s rights, and women’s healthcare in my personal and professional life. My most recent role was Executive Director of the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. I serve on the boards of the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health and Mother Health International, two organizations dedicated to serving nurses, healthcare workers, pregnant women, and children. I am thrilled to bring my 25 years of senior executive leadership experience to NPWH where I can continue to work and advocate for women and the providers who care for them.
We are working on some exciting initiatives in honor of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife and our 40th anniversary. I look forward to sharing these with you over the next several months, including efforts to support our long-term goals as an organization: growing our profession, advocating for full practice authority, and supporting a diverse workforce.
I am so honored to be working with you and for you, especially at this historic time. Thank you for your bravery, resilience, compassion, and commitment to women now and in a better, healthier future.
Heather L. Maurer
Chief Executive Officer, NPWH